SCENE in PART FIRST
THE SAME. THE FRENCH POSITION
Shortly before dawn on the morning of the 2nd of December. A white frost and fog still prevail in the low-lying areas; but overhead the sky is clear. A dead silence reigns.
NAPOLEON, on a grey horse, closely attended by BERTHIER, and surrounded by MARSHALS SOULT, LANNES, MURAT, and their aides-de-camp all cloaked, is discernible in the gloom riding down from the high ground before Bellowitz, on which they have bivouacked, to the village of Puntowitz on the Goldbach stream, quite near the front of the Russian position of the day before on the Pratzen crest. The Emperor and his companions come to a pause, look around and upward to the hills, and listen.
Their bivouac fires, that lit the top last night, Are all extinct.
And hark you, Sire; I catch A sound which, if I err not, means the thing We have hoped, and hoping, feared fate would not yield!
Faith, can it surely be the tramp of horse And jolt of cannon downward from the hill Towards our right here, by the swampy lakes That face Davout ? Thus, as I sketched, they work!
Yes! They already move upon Tilnitz.